Vienna's 10 Coolest Neighbourhoods

| Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash
Culture Trip

Being synonymous with Mozart and dainty cakes means Vienna doesn’t hold the biggest reputation for being one of Europe’s happening and hip destinations. However, in the lesser known parts and the underbelly of the city lives subtle yet distinctive subcultures and a burgeoning, edgy art scene. Don’t be fooled by the city’s initial impression of being a little fussy and quaint, Vienna shouldn’t be dismissed as just a pretty face.

1. Leopoldstadt

Architectural Landmark

Well established and officially – and some might say, unfortunately – ‘gentrified’, the formerly run-down Jewish quarter has been remodelled over recent years to resemble a magnet for young creatives. A steady stream of restaurants and cool coffee shops, such as the delightfully quaint Kleines Café, have popped up. This has transformed the area into an affirmed hub for the creative middle class. It has become one of the most desirable areas in Vienna, however, the inevitable rise in apartment rent costs mean that artists seek elsewhere. Don’t miss Karmelitermarkt, a market selling international and Viennese cuisine.

2. Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus

Architectural Landmark

A plethora of coffee shops, restaurants and shops have recently hit the streets of the 15th district, distancing it from its former reputation as a somewhat drab part of town. On the other side of the glorious and beautiful Schonbrunn Park, adjacent to the contrasting bougie and snobbish area of Hietzing, this neighbourhood is circled with a dense ring of traffic, making it less desirable than its quieter sister. However, it is gradually becoming a more desirable place for young people, with the benefit of affordable apartments and nearby open spaces.

3. Prater

Amusement Park, Park

A smaller section of the larger aforementioned second district Leopoldstadt, the Prater is a wonderful part of town. Ignoring the slightly tediously touristy and tacky amusement park, this area has a lot going for it in the cool stakes. Refreshing open spaces and a great selection of shops and restaurants make this one of Vienna’s most prominent and desirable areas.

5. Mariahilf

Architectural Landmark

Right next to Neubau, Mariahilf is a little more residential than its neighbour, but still in the middle of the action. Densely populated, this neighbourhood is full of culture, with everything from theatres putting on critically-acclaimed shows to bookstore-cafés and low-lit bars open well into the early morning hours. Also known as the 6th district, this neighbourhood is a hotspot for the LGBTQ community. Spreading all the way from Westbahnhof down to the Museumsquartier, you’ll find everything you’re looking for here, including Vienna’s main shopping street. Recommended by Clara Suchy

6. Ottakring

Architectural Landmark

Ottakring lies in northern Vienna, beginning at the Gurtel – the city’s rapidly moving ring of traffic. It feels vibrant and lively, with a great selection of inexpensive bars and restaurants to fuel the city’s students and young people. Markets filled with pallets and industrial lighting can be found in this district as well as authentic Viennese wineries, which are surrounded by rolling green hills that look down on the city. It’s a multicultural neighbourhood with a high immigrant population, contributing to a diverse selection of international cuisine. Hit up the classic Yugoslavian cafés on the so-called Balkan Mile or try something new at one of the many Asian, Turkish or Cypriot restaurants. Don’t miss Brunnenmarkt, Vienna’s longest street market, which features on the Vienna’s Highlights walking tour. Recommended by Clara Suchy

7. Margareten

Architectural Landmark

Directly located in the heart of the city, the fifth district has a fun and infectious Bohemian vibe. Typical Viennese architecture can be seen throughout. Boasting detailed faces and decadent swirling décor, this neighbourhood is both aesthetically pleasing and artsy cool. Foodies should be sure to browse the chaotic and bustling Naschmarkt, where you can pick up locally sourced ingredients at bargain prices. The large market is filled with more than 120 different stalls and restaurants and has been around since the 16th century.

8. Danube Canal


Photo by David Weber on Unsplash
On warm summer evenings in Vienna, locals often choose to dangle their feet over the edge of the Danube rather than sit inside. It’s a great place to have an al fresco drink, as people with backpacks full of ice and beer will pass you every two minutes selling refreshing beverages. Beach bars and cafés line the waterfront, so you’ll be spoilt for choice with places to hangout. Surrounded by friendly chatter and live music from buskers, this area is full of life. The canal is best experienced on a bike tour. Recommended by Clara Suchy

9. Josefstadt


Josefstadt is the smallest of Vienna’s 23 districts and was named after the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I. This area oozes class and sophistication and is home to a number of former Austrian presidents. It’s also one of Vienna’s most architecturally impressive districts, and at almost every turn you’ll pass another impressive building. Walk along the small streets of Josefstadt to find yourself among both new-age vegan and organic grocery stores and traditional Viennese cafés that have been around for more than a century. Josefstadt also has its fair share of specialty wine bars, and you’re likely to find plenty of yoga studios and breakfast cafés here. This area is great for families and individuals looking for a quiet neighbourhood that’s still close to the action. Recommended by Clara Suchy

10. Danube Island

Natural Feature

There’s no shortage of parks and gardens in Vienna, and over half of the city is green space. A big chunk of that comes from an island in the middle of the city – the Danube Island. On sunny days, this area is filled with people riding their bikes, speeding around on inline skates or just strolling along the waterfront. The island is is 21 kilometres (13 miles) long, with the Danube River on one side and the New Danube Canal on the other, so there are plenty of possibilities for swimming. The summer months are perfect for barbecues next to the water, and there are barbecue pits with seating set up along the island’s length. Every year in June, Danube Island transforms for the Donauinselfest (Danube Island Festival), a free open-air festival visited by more than 3 million people every year. Recommended by Clara Suchy

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